Five years and several protests later, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) layout proposal to revamp the Veermata Jijabhai Bhosale Udyan, better known as the Byculla zoo, has finally been approved by the Central Zoo Authority (CZA), a statutory body under the Union ministry of environment and forests.
The CZA's approval for the layout plan means that the blueprint for modernisation of the zoo, with the position and area of each animal enclosure to be constructed, has now been finalised. Finer aspects of the designs of enclosures will now be modelled and sent to the CZA for approval.
Confirming the development, additional municipal commissioner, Aseem Gupta said, "An approval for the master layout plan has been communicated to us. It is a major boost to the project and would expedite work. A final stamped approval to the layout is expected soon."
The plan also includes the addition of 23 animals to the zoo. However, existing animals which do not feature in the CZA's animal collection plan will be shifted to other zoos or released in the wild after consultation with the CZA.
Exotic animals that will be brought will be kept in a seven-acre plot at the Mafatlal Mill adjoining the eastern side of the zoo. This plot will be acquired and developed by the civic body.
The plan also proposes to construct acrylic glass panels for animal enclosures.
There has been opposition to the project in the past with several environment groups protesting the revamp as it was compromising the garden within the premises. However, civic officials said that all environmental concerns have now been addressed.
"The garden area will not be reduced. The modernisation plan aims to create a natural condition and environmental enrichment for animals. No new moats will be created so that surrounding trees are not damaged," said an official.